The parents of a Louisiana woman who was found dead in their home earlier this year are likely to face a grand jury investigation over the deceased woman’s horrific and shocking death, authorities say.
Lacey Ellen Fletcher, 36, suffered from nearly complete paralysis–a condition known as locked-in syndrome. On Jan, 3, 2022, she was found dead on her parents’ couch. Covered in feces and emaciated, her body had reportedly “melted” into the couch.
According to New Orleans metro area outlet NOLA.com, the East Feliciana Parish woman possibly had not been moved from the position in years, 20th Judicial District Attorney Sam D’Aquilla suggested. He said it was completely unknown when she had last been moved.
“The caretakers just let her sit on the couch, D’Aquilla said. “She just urinated and used the bathroom on the couch. It was so horrific.”
Parish Coroner Dr. Ewell Dewitt Bickham III reportedly said the woman had last seen a doctor some two decades ago.
“The scene was sickening,” the coroner reportedly said. “I’ve seen some horrible things in my life but nothing like this.”
“I couldn’t eat for a week, and I cried for a week,” Bickham also told Baton Rouge, La.-based ABC affiliate WBRZ.
D’Aquilla told the local outlet that he plans to convene grand jury proceedings soon and ask for charges of murder in the second degree to be leveled against Sheila Fletcher and Clay Fletcher.
The DA said the evidence at the Fletcher house suggested the deceased woman had suffered prolong neglect, likely for years, before she died.
Lacey Fletcher’s feet were crossed underneath her on the couch–deep inside the hole that her long-suffering body had worn through both the upholstery and cushion. The hole itself was filled with urine and feces. The victim’s body was covered in ulcers on her underside, D’Aquilla said, and “appeared rotten to the bone.”
“On a murder, you have to have intent,” D’Aquilla said. “Did they want to kill her? I want to say yeah, they wanted to kill her.”
Additionally, the woman had fecal matter shoved into her face, chest and abdomen, authorities said. Her hygiene had been allowed to deteriorate so much that hair was matted, knotted and filled with maggots.
“The question on everybody’s mind is, how could they be caretakers living in the house with her and have her get in a condition like that?” D’Aquilla said in his interview with NOLA.com. “It’s cruelty to the infirm. We can’t just let it sit.”
An attorney for the woman’s parents released a statement earlier this week.
“They don’t want to relive the pain of losing a child through the media,” Steven Moore told WBRZ. “They have been through a lot of heartache over the years. Anyone who had lost a child knows what it’s like.”
Bickham ruled the woman’s death a homicide and pressed for a law enforcement investigation, citing her death as the result of “severe chronic neglect.”
“It was the smell of rot,” D’Aquilla told WBRZ, describing the “latrine”-like nature and smell inside the room where Lacey Fletcher was found. “We don’t even treat animals like this.”
At the time of her death, Fletcher weighed 96 pounds and tested positive for COVID-19.
No arrests have been made.
Sheriff Jeff Travis described the situation as a “complex case that has specialty testimony” from physicians and other specialists.
Authorities insist this is unlike a normal murder but that the parents are not believed to be likely to flee the jurisdiction so law enforcement will await the results of the grand jury investigation.
“They lost a daughter,” the DA told NOLA.com. “I have, not much, but I have a little compassion for them. But I think we have to send a message. You need to take care of your people better than you do your animals. I just want people to recognize, if you have a situation like that you have to take action.”
The girl’s parents reportedly said the girl had developed “some degree of Asperger’s syndrome after 9th grade when she started being home schooled.” They insisted during an interview with law enforcement that she was the one who chose to never leave the couch and to relieve herself there or on a nearby towel. Sheila Fletcher said she routinely cleaned her daughter’s sores and that Lacey Fletcher never complained about them.
“Mom and Dad love you so much,” Sheila Fletcher wrote in a Facebook post after her daughter died earlier this year.
[Image via screengrab/WBRZ ]
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